Squiz Kids partners with Google to help students build media literacy skills

Image: Newshounds by Squiz Kids in the classroom

This week, UNESCO’s Media Literacy Week is focused on nurturing trust in media and information. There’s no better time to educate and empower people to be confident consumers of media than at school, which is why Squiz Kids has partnered with the Google News Initiative to roll out its media literacy program ‘Newshounds’ to primary schools across New Zealand. 

Squiz Kids, a daily news podcast for 8-12yos, has developed Newshounds by Squiz Kids as a plug-and-play media literacy teaching resource comprising eight x 10 minute podcasts and accompanying in-classroom activities, packaged up in an engaging board-game style format. 

Squiz-E the Newshound takes primary-aged kids on a media literacy journey, teaching them to understand the myriad forms of media to which they’re exposed every day and recognise the multiple agendas that drive them. Underpinning it all are exercises that give kids the skills to identify misinformation and disinformation. 

“Kids today have more information coming at them on a daily basis than at any other time in history,”  said Squiz Kids Director Bryce Corbett. “We created Newshounds to make kids critical consumers of media - to teach them to stop, think and check before believing everything they come across on the internet. Teachers and parents alike know it’s important to teach their children media literacy, but few know where to start. By partnering with Google, it’s hoped that Newshounds starts conversations with adults that help kids recognise online fact from fiction.”

The partnership with Google will allow classrooms across New Zealand to access the Newshounds media literacy program for free from this week.

The Manaiakalani Education schools in Tāmaki Makaurau have been running a pilot of the programme in their classrooms over the past few months, and they’ve found students were engaged by the content, and most importantly, were transferring these concepts to other areas of learning when they were online.

Listeners, readers and viewers are incredibly powerful in the fight against misinformation - the more they demand quality information, the higher chance facts have to win the battle. But those audiences need support. 

Understanding the many complex elements that go into deciding what is fact and what is a falsehood starts at an early age, which is why we’re so proud to work with Squiz Kids to launch Newshounds in New Zealand schools. This partnership builds on our efforts to build a sustainable, diverse and innovative news ecosystem.

Teachers are invited to create a free account at newshounds.squizkids.com.au - and start their class on the path to media literacy.

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